⭐ Official Review [Album]: "TIME" (SP 5117/CD 5117/DX 1687)


  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 8 12.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 14 22.2%
  • ***

    Votes: 23 36.5%
  • **

    Votes: 11 17.5%
  • *

    Votes: 7 11.1%

  • Total voters


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The Carole King song 'You've Got A Friend' from the album was also released as a single (A&M Records SP-12318). Horrendous stuff...listen if you dare.


Here's Grant Guerrero's page on the album. He makes the very astute observation that "between the very contemporary-sound material and the arrangements for a higher voice, I don't find myself wondering what Karen would have sounded like on any of these songs -- I don't think this is the direction the Carpenters would have gone if Karen had lived through the '80s".

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A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I like Scott's album, too. Especially 'I Don't Even Mind'. Granted, it ain't Carpenters, but it's nicely done.


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I love TIME & SCOTT GRIMES. Each track is Carpenter(S)esque and for all the clamoring I do about the vaults and the demand for release I can say I appreciate all reminiscences. Bring on the outtakes and studio D farts caught on tape for posterity.



Well-Known Member
My Sunday spin of 'music' has me playing :
Richard Carpenter's 1987 Time, Scott Grimes' 1989 A&M album,
followed by a Karen Carpenter Solo chaser.
My only question, so far:
Reiterating--Why was Karen Carpenter shelved---but, a risk (then) taken on the others' ?


Well-Known Member
I have the Scott Grimes album on CD and vinyl, and I don't even care for his voice. Am I an über fan (of all things Carpenter) or what? :D
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Well-Known Member
It's just as you'd expect it to be - full of dated 80s synths and similar material to 'Time', except substitute Richard's high pitch nasal vocals for Scott Grimes. The first one below I think should have been the single, but they chose the second one. It didn't chart in the US.

...I love this CD and also have it on my IPod. "Walking On The Water" is one of my favorite songs/productions of all time.


Well-Known Member
I'm sad to say I don't find much to enjoy on this album. I've probably only played it through in full a handful of times since I bought the CD some 10 years ago - I gave it another spin a couple of months back but it didn't change my opinion. It's certainly my least listened-to Carpenters-related album by a long shot.

There are a number of problems with the album as I see it:

1) Richard's voice is too high and without power on the tracks on which he performs lead - he sounded much better on the Carpenters songs on which he sang lead.
2) The synths haven't aged well.
3) Most of the tracks I find watery and old-fashioned, even for 1987's market - the material just isn't strong enough.
4) Scott Grimes isn't a good enough singer to be a featured vocalist.
5) 'In Love Alone' wastes Dionne Warwick on a forgettable song.

Ironically, despite the dated synths, I don't mind 'Say Yeah' - at least it was trying something different, even if the lyrics sound absurd in places. The standout track is 'Who Do You Love' - it's the only one that has much of a 'pop' feel about it and is probably Richard's best vocal on the album. 'Something in Your Eyes' is nice but doesn't have much commercial edge and feels like a retread of similar Carpenters tracks.

Much of the album is I fear what Carpenters albums might have sounded like in the later 1980s had Karen survived and nothing changed in their artistic direction - following in the tired and lifeless vein of Made in America and 'Now' and 'You're Enough' from 1982 and sounding even more unchallenging and safe over time.

The real clue to the direction Richard perhaps should have been taking is in the title track. Despite being an instrumental, it's far more interesting than most of the vocal tracks. This suggests to me that he might have had a better future in scoring for films than in trying to come up with a 'pop' album like this.

The one (and only) big positive of the album is at least A&M got the cover art right - it actually fits Richard's character quite well and makes him look fairly contemporary. If only the music had been able to match it in that respect...


Well-Known Member
I never bought this or any of Richard's solo albums. Just never felt inclined to. But Rumbahbah's comment above about "Who Do You Love" caused me to look it up on YouTube and give it a listen. Not bad. Many have commented on Richard singing too high ... and I agree. Sounds to me like he was going for a Peter Cetera style of singing. It almost works on that tune.


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This from Spokane Chronicle, May 30,1985:
"Speaking of lightweight singers, male half of the immensely popular 1970's singing group the Carpenters,will launch
a new career when he records his first solo album next month. 'People will listen to some songs and say ' Oh,that's great, but it
would have been really great if Karen were singing lead,'
he (Richard) said. 'And, I will understand that completely because I will be among them.'"

July 20, 1985 Schenectady Gazette:
"He said he is not sure that the time is better now for one of his albums, but, then,"I don't want to sit down and say-I wonder if this is a good time
and look at the charts and everything."
Carpenter expects to release his record by next spring, following up by a tour.

Entire Article here:


Well-Known Member
This from the publication A&M Records First 25 Years:
page 54....
(Amy Grant)...."for A&M Records to come in and say... 'We'll foot the bill, now start talking"
"And, so it goes, from decade to decade, from artist to artist,the same sentiment expressed repeatedly in a variety of contexts.
The message is simple, and in its simplicity-eloquent-at A&M Records the quality of artistic expression prevails over the headlong push
for precious metals.
page 50...
"Giving Richard Carpenter a vote of confidence(sic.-for solo album) is one thing, the guy has, after all, sold millions of albums.
However, numerous groups having little, or no, sales clout to use as a bargaining chip have also benefited from A&M's benevolence in
critical hours

N.B.: I merely point out that--and, objective evidence supports this outlook---that the criteria used to address the decision to release Karen Carpenter's
solo album was distinctly different from other A&M artists.


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Industry Member
This is apples and oranges....and you can't discern the true behind the scenes goings-on at any record company from one of their promotional pieces....they would always put the best face on every situation....

Three things, imho:
1) quality of artistic expression - coupled with searching for artists/albums that sold really really really well and helped pay for the more esoteric stuff - was the basic underlying philosophy of A&M. Was everyone's story a happy one? No. Did they always make great decisions for their artists? No. But it was an amazing place where so many fantastic artists were nurtured and given room to grow and exposed to a wide audience.

2) Without Herb Alpert and A&M, THERE WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BEEN NO ALBUMS BY THE CARPENTERS AND THIS FORUM WOULDN'T EXIST. He signed them, stood by them when the first album had a middling performance and no one else wanted to keep them, and for Pete's sake, he gave them "Close To You".

3) Everything that really went down at the label leading to the shelving of her solo album, we will never really know. Thanks to Randy and others, we have as much info as possible. But what was in everyone's heads? Why they would say goodbye to over $100,000 of their money (plus the 400K of Karen's)? Theorize all you want, but it's more complicated than we know and you can make pronouncements about how 'this is how they all really felt' till you're blue in the face. I'd love to know the nitty gritty of that day. But none of us ever really will.


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True on all particulars, A&Mguyfromwayback !
The 25th Anniversary publication for A&M Records does, indeed , highlight its exceptional qualities as pertains to all of their
recording artists--qualities which made it a unique and wonderful place to create music.
And, in that publication, Quincy Jones reiterates your declaration--he,also, saying that Carpenters may not ever have gotten signed by
another record company --if A&M had not done so. (Thanks Herb Alpert---if, I have not already said so!)
So, my above comments are not meant to detract from the prime importance of Herb Alpert or A&M Records
in the fostering of Carpenters career.
And, I, like you, would find the behind-the-scenes nitty gritty of the day, quite compelling!


Well-Known Member
It's true that we have a lot to thank A&M for (or least Herb Alpert - apparently Karen and Richard's relationship with Jerry Moss was never that close), particularly in terms of giving them a break, but as with all record companies, it's a two-way street. Their music was massively profitable for A&M over the years (I think they were the biggest act that the label ever produced?) and it's been well documented that at times both Richard and Karen were unhappy with the label in terms of handling of their image and lack of respect shown to them by A&M staff.

It is true that we'll probably never know exactly why the solo album was shelved and why A&M were happy to allow their $100,000 investment to go down the drain, but let's remember that, during the same time period, they were happy to bankroll and release rubbish like The Ethel Merman Disco Album that sold nothing. There was clearly much much more to the decision than just cutting their losses because they thought it wouldn't sell.

In terms of Time, I suspect A&M didn't apply the same standard of appraisal to it as they had Karen's solo album in going ahead with its release as they were happy to give Richard, the custodian of the music of their biggest selling act, a free run as a quid pro quo for all the money they were making from Carpenters sales. Given that it apparently took the best part of two years to record (albeit that some of that delay was due to the refurbishing of the A&M studios) and Richard's perfectionism, I don't imagine that Time was a cheap album was make.


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
There was clearly much much more to the decision than just cutting their losses because they thought it wouldn't sell.

What else could it have been then? I've thought and thought about this and the only conclusion I can come to is that they thought it would be so damaging to the Carpenters brand and cash cow, that they felt it to be unworthy of release. I just wish we could get a definitive answer from someone.


Well-Known Member
It depends on what you mean by 'damaging'. There's the idea taken by some (and publicly by Richard and Herb Alpert) that it was so inferior that it would tarnish the Carpenters brand. But there's also the idea that the release of the album might damage the viability of the Carpenters as an ongoing entity, particularly if it was successful, by either driving a wedge between Karen and Richard or causing Karen to reassess how she wanted to proceed with her career thereafter.

If you subscribe to the latter view, then A&M losing $100,000 by cancelling Karen's solo album might have seemed a relatively small gamble if it meant they'd get all the revenue from a bevy of future Carpenters album sales - even if, as it turned out, it wasn't that much of a masterstroke, as there would only be one more release in Karen's lifetime, which didn't sell well at the time of release either.

By 1987, however, there weren't really going to be any more new Carpenters albums, but A&M were due to make a reasonable amount from the back catalogue. As Richard was the person with the final say on what could be released in future, it's conceivable that the label would let him have a free pass to put out an album, even if it didn't sell - it was important that they kept on side with him, just as to some extent they had in 1980 by deferring to him as the senior partner in the duo and continuing with the Carpenters, which is what he wanted to do at the time.


Well-Known Member
And, too, interesting (?) that Newsletter #59 May 1978, is the first official mention of
the Karen Carpenter Magic Lamp single.("Richard has passed on the information relating to numerous inquiries...").
A Simple Exercise:
Compare each solo album.
Each, of course, has its merits.
However, only one of those discs is a true "spreading of the wings" of any type of musical endeavor.
(1) Majestic Album Artwork on the Time Album....very well thought-out (I like it, actually).
Query: why was that same majestic creativity not utilized on Karen's Cover? She is a radiant beauty, she deserved a fantastic
Cover --not the cover that was settled upon.
(2) Richard spent how long on his solo effort (1-2 years? ) But, Karen's effort was taking too long?
(3) Richard sings too high, at times, for his solo songs. The same charge was levied against Karen's solo effort.
(Since when is a female denounced for singing higher notes?).
(4) A simple comparison of the drumming and guitar work between the two albums delineates the alternative arrangement styles.
(5) There are good songs on Richard Carpenter's album. There are some great songs on Karen Carpenter's album.

This leaves no doubt in my mind:
Carpenters, as a musical entity, was the sole reason that Karen's effort was cancelled.
Carpenters, as cash-cow for A&M, was the sole reason for releasing Richard's effort.
Whether admitted publicly, or not, every printed source--from Billboard to the Newspapers---clearly
and emphatically pronounce that Karen and Richard Carpenter are One.
That Richard is the genius,the leader; Karen, the tag-along sister, who just happens to sing and drum. She, nothing without him.
Apologies for the bluntness, but Article after article which I have posted on this forum--from Google News
and Newspaper Archives--clearly shows who 'ran this musical entity'.
Karen Carpenter was never allowed the same freedom, that's a fact:
(i.e., Sing only what you are told to sing, drum when you are allowed to drum, No Disco!...on and on, without respite...)
As I have proclaimed elsewhere, what befell them both could have happened in no other way---given all we now know.
Peruse the literature of the day (some, of which, I have already posted in the 'Anybody Read This').
Indeed, the reality of the situation is as complex, tortured and maddening as any modern day tragedy.


Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
It's just as you'd expect it to be - full of dated 80s synths and similar material to 'Time', except substitute Richard's high pitch nasal vocals for Scott Grimes. The first one below I think should have been the single, but they chose the second one. It didn't chart in the US.

Yikes! That's just awful. One listen to this stuff and it's no wonder Richard didn't make a career of producing for other artists. This is "Time 2" with even more insipid lyrics, slightly more rocking, and a higher voice.

Richard is simply not a solo artist. He had one muse and, sadly, she's gone. He's very talented for sure but he absolutely needed Karen in order to matter.

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Well-Known Member
There are mentors who see talent ie: painting, acting, singing, me (inject laugh) and their sole purpose is to help an artiste gain acclaim for what they can bring to light. My question is did Herb Alpert envision the musical entity CarpenterS as 'need to share' or as a means to dollar signs? Certainly as time rolled along it appears artistic expression was muddled by the saving of a label. A successful super-group that could've carried any ol name that brought home the bacon would warrant attn. My point is that if in '70 SUPERTRAMP did what K&R did, then it'd be all about them and not CarpenterS. I don't believe today that Herb took CarpenterS to his breast and fostered art. Herb n Jerry were businessman yes. Of course they would see $$$ signs. But the notion that K&R were coddled for all to hear doesn't ring true as any money machine would garner said treatment. So with TIME and its lackluster appeal to the general populace what was there to lose? Hey did Richard bankroll his $400k or did A&M fork it over? At collective listening P, Arranger, Conductor n such n such had to drum up the reaction of ick!!! Yet it saw release. Did A&M bankroll that stinker?

Orienting TIME: I did feel cheated by all of the guests. The XMAS ALBUM that never was features Petula Clark. Another filler. RC has enough talent whether singing high or singin low to merit his own output. I say Rich!!! Give us what ya do for cryin out loud. I'll take another TIME huh??? ANOTHER TIME my new title when we see the release of the TIME sessions outtakes complete with 80's sound. Lovin Rich and/or Karen on lead, backups or producers on anything, anywhere.

Also Richard a sidenote: Whilst you remaster TIME for the SACD Japan release, would ya clean out the vaults. The vaults to include any ol body function from you or Karen. Just materialize all those tapes hafta offer. Blips, blaps, beeps, bloopers n finally burpz. Remember Richard said y'all that KAREN CARPENTER saw release in '96 due to the clamoring of fans. This is a quote from somewhere I know. Don't make me sic GaryAlan on yer butt for reference cuz I will. Meanwhile clamor I will. For the clamoring naysayers I say don't buy the next 'never before released' release cuz ya don't believe in it so readily. It's just like The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Those who truly believe will one day see the Great pumpkin rise in the patch! I've been yapping since'71 representing the fan base albeit annoying (watch it...).

One day I'm gonna post all of those responses I've received from Ev and Rosina over the years. How gracious were those two as they navigated my badgering demands circa pre-teen and beyond. You think you guys have it bad? My guess is that those two ol girls would be sayin stand in line...



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Industry Member
Rumbahbah, spot on observations all around. The only other thing I'd add to this discussion is an observation about Herb from personal experience - he leads with his ears and his heart. Of course a record label signs an act hoping to reach a wide audience, but Herb was truly struck by Karen's voice, their work ethic, Richard's musical abilities, their harmonies. On a creative level, he felt it and saw something there.....


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Funny Herb's heart as it were signed the duo at demos...saw something there , up to and after OFFERING yet had a hand in KAREN CARPENTER and its ultimate and heartless shelving. Don't tell me the the solo album had less appeal than demos and ALL I CAN DO. Thank goodness powers that be supported our current topic TIME and its timelessness, single-worthiness, creativity and sustainability. In all fairness remembering I'm nearly as fond of TIME as the star turning KAREN CARPENTER. It's dichotomy that raises me eyebrow.



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November 19, 1983 is the first printed declaration, that I can locate, wherein Richard Carpenter
states his intentions and goals for a solo album.
(see: The Observer-Reporter News Article in 'Anybody Read This' thread).
The dichotomy which Jeff mentions is all-too apparent.
Time and again, especially from 1974 onward, Richard is adamant regarding his place in the duo.
In no uncertain terms is it mentioned, almost as an afterthought, that Karen-while being the 'star' of the duo-
takes a back seat to Richard's primary input for the duo: He selects the songs, writes some of them, arranges the material,
does keyboards, and 'picks the hits' (see: 1975 A&M Compendium interview, or many others I have posted in the 'Anybody Read This' thread).
LP Offering, I consider somewhat of a masterpiece--despite the vocal leads by Richard Carpenter.It is brilliant.
Time LP, even sans Richard's vocals, is not a masterpiece. Not that I hate it, but, it has no soul.
While Richard 'played it safe', musically....
Karen decided to do anything but 'play it safe'.
Richard had nothing to lose.
Karen lost everything.
As soon as 'they' cancelled her solo album, they as much as said, "You, Karen, are nothing without your Brother--he alone is what
made you a singing star. He produced that voice, arranged your ballads, composed your songs. Remember,Karen?, you just wanted to tag-along,
had no interest in music until he compelled you to sing. Let us not interfere with Carpenters; Karen, you were never meant to sing disco!
The album is s..t!
(By the way, No way did Karen cancel her album-it was cancelled for her--I'll go to my grave believing that).
Well, peruse all of the literature that I have provided links to, or transcripts of---the story is there.
The dichotomy does exist.
Not a 'Grand Plan', or 'Big Plot'----really, no plan at all.
Plain fact: If Time is worthy of commercial release, then Karen Carpenter was worthy of release from its inception.
Neither wanted the goody-two-shoes image, but, neither was anyone willing to relinquish it.
The money was in the basement, no one was going to let that one get away.

mr J.

Well-Known Member
My Sunday spin of 'music' has me playing :
Richard Carpenter's 1987 Time, Scott Grimes' 1989 A&M album,
followed by a Karen Carpenter Solo chaser.
My only question, so far:
Reiterating--Why was Karen Carpenter shelved---but, a risk (then) taken on the others' ?

You've asked a complicated question-I'll try to answer it in three different sections:

1. An album that is commercially viable for one artist isn't necessarily commercial viable for another.The type of album that Karen made with Phil might've been a good album for Cher,Olivia Newton-John or Teena Marie,but not Karen.

2.Albums get cancelled all the time-and for many different reasons.The situation with Karen's album wasn't unique or strange.Rita Coolidge(another veteran A&M artist) recorded a jazz album in 1975-that got turned down by A&M.A&M felt that Rita wasn't an established artist at that point,and didn't have a jazz audience that would buy the album.If that album was recorded by Karen,it would've gotten a surefire release.Conversely,if Rita recorded Karen's solo album in 1975,it might have been released and scored Rita a severely needed hit-single.

I just recently found out that(80's pop diva) Laura Branigan's 1982 debut album wasn't her debut album.She actually recorded her debut album in 1980-and by the time it was ready for release in 1981,Atlantic decided to cancel it.Many of the disco tracks on the album were already "dated" a year after they were recorded.She subsequently recorded a whole new debut album(with "Gloria") that finally came out in 1982.

3. Richard's solo album came into existence only because Karen was gone.And,except for one more forthcoming album(Lovelines) there would be no more new Carpenters albums.Richard's album isn't any better than Karen's-but it came into fruition under totally different circumstances.In all likelihood,the two Christmas albums He recorded were probably turned down by Universal.
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